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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Radio Active #20: Dragonflight, Dragon's Landing, Uncle Bear, X-Axis

by Ken Newquist / November 14, 2005

The classic science fiction novel Dragonflight is the focus of this week's fiction review. It's joined by three new Sites of Note -- The Dragon's Landing Podcast, UncleBear.com, and The X-Men Axis.

Getting the Podcast

You can get the podcast in two ways:

Show Notes

  • Guest Theme Song: Battlestar Galactica Theme (Original Series)
    • since we still don't have our own...
    • Listening to this theme still gives me chills after all these years, but admittedly that's more because of memories of the new Battlestar imposed over the fuzzy, pleasant memories of the old one.
  • Intro
    • Home improvements continue around the thermonuclear burg. Next Sunday I'll be painting the bathroom, and sometime after that we'll be getting carpet installed in our living room and library, which will involve a big re-shuffling of furniture and such. It's all part of a larger drive to really get our house feeling more like a home -- more a place to relax, and less a place to simply collapse from exhaustion ... and to get it all done before the baby arrives in June.
    • The Geek Tree: I'm gearing up for this year's Geek Tree. For those who don't know, this is my personal Christmas tree, the one spun off from the main tree when my geek ornaments threatened to Borgize it. I'm updating the Geek Tree feature on nuketown, and I'm working on taking some decent photos of it this year (thanks to finally buying a good digital camera). I'll probably be dedicating the first show of December entirely to the geek tree and geek Christmas type stuff, so if you have any suggestions (or photos/stories of your own geek trees) send them to me at nuketown@gmail.com.
    • Reader Correspondance: New listener Sue Groshong (who joined us from Slice of Sci-Fi) sent me some feedback, saying that she loved the Star Blazers theme song from. She also recommended the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, which were the books I couldn't remember during the actual podcast.
    • MirrorMask Soundtrack: Threatening to do this one since before the Time of Troubles in October. Plan on knocking out a podcast dedicated specifically to that as #21, so bear with me.
  • Yog Radio Promo
  • Sites of Note
    • Dragon's Landing Podcast
      • www.dragonslanding.com
      • Fun podcast dedicated to role-playing games. Spent a lot of time listening to this podcast while painting my porch a few weeks back, and I really enjoyed their ventures into meaty topics like world building, resources for gaming on the cheap, and interviews with folks like Monte Cook of D&D 3.0 and Malhavoc Press fame (can't wait until they get him back). Great mix, and just the sort of thing I like to listen to to re-charge my gaming batteries.
    • UncleBear.com
      • www.unclebear.com
      • I've been reading Uncle Bear for years, and while the site's approuch has varied, its content has never disappointed. It's a general interest RPG site with occasional incursions from the larger geek world. Expect posts about gaming news, reminders of genre birthdays, and occasional editorials about topics such as power gaming, and classless D&D. Also home to the 10-foot Wiki, a JavaScript-powered wiki designed to be used as an offline or online campaign journal and an extensive free font archive. It also has an active forum, which I've been participating in for years. If you're looking for thoughtful, well-reasoned posts from a variety of perspectives, it's well worth a visit.
    • The X-Axis Reviews
      • www.thexaxis.com
      • I've always struggled to keep up with my X-Men storylines, all the more so since switching comic book stores back in September, and missing a few important issues in the House of M storyline. And then I found The X-Axis.
      • It provides reviews of different X-Men titles each week, while also maintaining an "upcoming" page that lists what titles are coming out when and, just as importantly, what titles have slipped from week to week, and what effect that slippage has on the rest of the line.
      • Offers a weekly newsletter that includes the reviews, or you can read them on the site (unfortunately there's no RSS feed, but a newsletter's just fine)
  • The Science Fiction Podcast Network Promo
  • Book Review: Dragonflight
      • by Anne McCaffrey
      • Del Rey Books
      • 320 Pages
      • Buy it from Amazon.com
      • Rating: 10/10
      • Star Wars was fantasy masquarading as science fiction. Dragonflight is science fiction masquarading as fantasy. It takes place on a distant world long ago colonized by humanity, so long ago that its origins are all but lost to time.
      • The descendants of those long ago colonists have formed a feudal society based on certain ancient precepts established to protect them from an extraplanetory threat -- a mythological terror that can consume anything organic, from plants to people. Protecting the people from this threat are dragons -- real, fire-breathing dragons that exist to burn this threat from the sky. But it has been centuries since this threat -- called "Thread" appeared, and the old rules are being broken. The stone "holds" are no longer scoured of green stuff, and one warlord has gone so far as to conquer his neighbors, breaking the precept that restricted a lord holder to only one domain. The dragonriders themselves are looked upon with disdain as unneeded parasites.
      • As the story opens we meet Lessa, a woman at Ruatha Hold who is the sole survivor of her family's blood line, who were wiped out by the merciless warlord. We also meet the dragon rider F'lar, who is travelling from hold to hold looking for dragon rider candidates. There are several kinds of dragons, from mighty bronzes to stalwart browns to small but fast moving blues and greens, but only one female: the gold queen, which is only riden by women. And now a golden egg has been laid, and the dragon riders must find a new rider for her.
      • Eventually F'lar finds Lessa, and takes her back to Benden Wyr, where she becomes the rider of the new born gold dragon. But that's only the beginning, because it seems that the threat that everyone thought was gone is returning, and F'lar has far too dragons to fight it. He, Lessa and their fellow dragon riders must come up with a way to deal with the attacks from the mindless alien menace, while simultaneously dealing with political intrigues among the holds and guilds.
      • Awesome story and totally invigorating for my teenage self. McCaffery does a great job of introducing us to this world through Lessa, and she's at her fiction writing best with this book and its two sequels, Dragonquest and The White Dragon.
      • Loved everything about the dragons, which are intelligent creatures that have deep, loving relationships with their masters. Enjoyed the sense of adventure that comes about as Lessa and F'lar uncover their planet's secrets.